Tuesday, November 30, 2010

18th Century Shoes - A Survey

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Monday, November 29, 2010


Exquisite 18th Century Shoes

Well I wanted to make everyone shoes, beautiful 18th c. style shoes, but I checked into manufacturing them and it would take an order of 1000 pairs of shoes, minimum!  In my sadness at not being able to do this, and having no beautiful shoes, I shall post all the beautiful reference images I was looking at.  I hope you enjoy these as much as I did and do :-)

These are from The Met, Augusta Auctions, and the V&A

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Sunday, November 28, 2010


'Tis The {Start of} The Season

In honor of the snow, the cold, and having bested Turkey Day, I've switched it up here to a festive holiday theme, and to celebrate, enjoy this obnoxious and yet stunning 1871 tartan daydress, from Augusta Auctions:

And if you're in the mood for shopping, check out the Boutique for vintage and costume items.  I'm adding new stuff as fast as I can.  Enjoy 20% off by using the coupon code SNOWFLAKE at checkout.  Click the nifty coupon below:

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Friday, November 26, 2010


American Duchess Boutique (on Black Friday)

20% OFF SALE, any item, use the coupon code VINTAGENOVEMBER, now through December 1st!

Ladies and Gents, in celebration of 300 followers, and because in Capitalismland it's "Black Friday," I want to let you know of the cool bits of vintage awesomeness currently in the Boutique.  I've marked down a number of items, and listed several new ones, so here's a peak at the coolest things we have.  Click on the images to go to the listings, or visit the shop: American Duchess Boutique on Etsy.

Leather and crochet driving gloves, 1950s/60s, $18
1930s brown suede shoes, size 5.5 - 6, exquisite and wearable, $50
1940s beaded evening clutch, perfect condition, original mirror inside. $40
Tip Top Curlers, complete set of 6, unopened.  1960s. $6.99
1950s pink velvet perching hat with curled pink feather and veil. $35
Royal Doulton bone china, English, 1960s.  Stunning little teacup and saucer set. $25
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Costume Analytics: Marquise de Merteuil's Peach Robe à La Française, from "Dangerous Liaisons"

This week on Costume Analytics, let's look at a fantastic 1770s Robe a la Francaise, from the other pinnacle of 18th c. movie costuming, Dangerous Liaisons (1988).  This film never goes out of style, despite being made in the 80s - it's full of intrigue, sex, betrayal, and beautiful costumes.  Let's eyeball one example worn by Glenn Close, as the Marquise de Merteuil.

The Marquise's gown is a Robe a la Francaise, or a saque-back gown, with large Watteau pleats at the back.  It is worn over a stomacher and petticoat.  The front edges were pinned and the slack taken up by hidden lacings at the back. (there's a great scene in the movie showing this)

The gown is worn over pocket hoops, which give the skirts their distinct shape.  The front of the robe is open and shows the glittery petticoat beneath.  The stomacher, over which the front edges of the robe are pinned, is triangular in shape and covered in bows.  In total, the outward appearance of this gown includes three pieces - robe, petticoat, and stomacher.

Fabrics & Trims
The robe is constructed of a peach colored silk taffeta, no pattern.  The interest is all in the trims and petticoat.  Let's break it down:

On the Bodice - the trim is in a zig-zag pattern, and appears to be ruched and then pressed or crushed.  There are stripes running through the middle, which appear almost greenish in color, and a darker edging in peach..  It's difficult to see what makes up the stripes - it could be stripes in the fabric itself, a separate ribbon sewn on, or two pieces of edged trim sewn together in the middle, then gathered.  The edging appears to be dyed.  We see the same edged ribbon on the sleeves, the flounces, and in the bows.

On the Stomacher - Five large bows make up the stomacher, largest at the top, tiny at the bottom.  The triangular base of the stomacher is likely made from the same peach fabric of the robe, or possibly the petticoat, but is obscured by the massive bows, which are again made of the edged ribbon we see elsewhere.

On the Skirt of the Robe - there are two trims here, the zig-zag we see higher up on the bodice, backed by a wide panel of gathered and pressed fabric with the same darker color on the edges.  The trim panels are much wider on the skirt than on the bodice.

The petticoat is a riot of texture and subtle color changes.  It is a slightly darker peach color than the robe, and features floral "bursts" in gold, with beading in white (pearls?).

Check out this petticoat.
The Marquise wears a shallow-crowned straw hat trimmed in fluffy gathered ribbon and self-bows.  At her neck is a ruffled lace choker with a pink ruffled fabric cockade off to the side.  She wears dangling diamond earrings and two black ribbon bracelets, one on each wrist.  Elbow length gloves in a buff color top it all off.

What we can't see is that the Marquise is wearing tightly laced stays, a chemise (we can see the enormous lacy sleeve flounces at the elbows), and pocket hoops (panniers).  She also has on exquisite shoes, no doubt, silk stockings, and probably a basic petticoat to add fullness to her skirts.

Tips on Making This Costume

  • Look for taffeta fabric in peach, ivory, or pink.  Use a solid color for the robe, and something riotous and eye-catching for the petticoat.  Try Fabric.com (good selection of taffetas, dupioni, and silks).
  • If you're not a fan of peach, go for any other pastel color, and keep the same effect by working in the same color family with your petticoat fabric and ribbons.

* The affiliate links in this post are as follows.  All other links are NOT affiliates, and I gain no commission from them:

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